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Professor Michael S. Knoll joined the faculty in 2000 from the University of Southern California Law School. He teaches tax law and corporate finance with a joint appointment to the faculty of the Real Estate Center at the Wharton School. In the Spring semester he will co-teach a course in tax policy with Shuldiner, with an offering of guest lecturers who are academics, lawyers, economists, and government regulators.
This spring Knoll will also co-teach “Taxes and Business Strategy” - an innovative course in tax planning for Law & Wharton students - with Edward B. Kostin, an adjunct professor at Wharton. This is the first time Knoll will co-teach this course – based on Myron S. Scholes and Mark Wolfson’s classic text - that he has also presented at USC, the University of Toronto, University of Virginia, Georgetown and at Penn Law, as a visiting professor.
Unlike a course in tax codes, this course takes the subject to a higher level by adding a framework for how tax rules affect business decisions so students can deal with any tax regimes that occur any time in their careers. Unique among law schools, with an integration of law and business students, Knoll explains that the goal of the course will be “to think actively about tax, which is usually thought about passively. This will teach students basic tax structures and basic finance principles. Where there are inconsistencies in the code there are opportunities – not just for loopholes but to avoid making mistakes.” Upon arrival at the Law School, Knoll noted, “Other schools have interdisciplinary programs, but they don’t have the caliber of people and schools that Penn does.”
Our goal is to give students the background in finance so they can handle it themselves or know how to ask the right questions when dealing with experts. All of this is training for a lawyer – being able to understand what your client is trying to do.
Knoll’s enthusiasm for teaching the principles of finance to law students is palpable.
“Our goal is to give students the background in finance so they can handle it themselves or know how to ask the right questions when dealing with experts,” he says. “All of this is training for a lawyer – being able to understand what your client is trying to do. We’re trying to take the strategic thinking they learn in law school and use it to integrate the law and business into everyday life. How does the law impact their clients’ lives? We’re looking at the rules and the consequences. It’s part of the critical thinking we teach.”
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